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Bonfire night can be a fun time for families, but the four legged members of your family may not share the excitement of their human friends.
Whilst you can’t always guarantee when fireworks are going to be set off, the weekends around 5th November are obviously the peak period for your dog being scared by loud bangs and flashes. So, what can you do to keep them safe and happy?
- Prepare your dog for bonfire night by acclimatising them to the kind of sounds they will hear. You can buy CDs or find videos of firework noises on YouTube which you could play at a low level to introduce them to the range of noises they may hear on 5th November in a controlled manner.
- Create a safe space for your dog to retreat to if they feel scared. They may like to hide under a table or snuggle up to a familiar blanket or woolly jumper.
- Keep windows and curtains closed at night – this will help to block out some of the sound and flashes.
- Distract your dog by keeping the radio or TV switched on to drown out some of the noise from outside.
- Speak to your vet about pheromone diffusers or medication which may help to keep your dog calm. Only use these on the advice of a qualified vet.
- Walk your dog before dusk to prevent them being spooked and running off if they hear a loud noise after dark. When you are out walking, make sure they have an ID tag on their collar just in case they do run off.
- Behave normally because if you appear happy and cheerful, your dog is more likely to remain calm. Play with them and try to keep them distracted.
- Feed them before dark in case they get anxious when they hear the bangs. Also keep their water bowls filled up because anxious dogs pant more than normal.
- Do not take them to a firework display. Even if your dog doesn’t bark when they hear fireworks, excessive yawning and panting can indicate they are stressed.
- Do not leave your dog alone for long periods. Keeping them company while fireworks are being set off will help them to stay calm.
So with a little preparation and a lot of attention and affection, you can help bonfire night go off without a bang for your four legged friends.